If you’re launching a business as an occupational therapist, you’re probably going to be thinking about creating a website.
And you’re right…
A website is a great marketing asset that gives a business legitimacy and credibility.
After all, you probably head to Google yourself to scout out your options from everything from finding a dentist to picking a new restaurant to try.
And you’re not alone in Googling to make decisions about providers. LSA reports that 60% of consumers run a search on Google up before picking a medical office to call.
And here’s the unfortunate piece, building a great website for your business isn’t an intuitive or easy process.
There are many options and pieces to crafting a website for your occupational therapy business. Making it easy to feel overwhelmed or unsure about where to start.
Not to mention that the costs can quickly add up. And depending on your business, you might not have the funds or clarity to pour into a website right off the bat.
That’s why I’m here with this guide to help you get that website started. Think of this as an overview with a few pointers. A resource to go from knowing nothing to understanding some basics on where to begin.
Find Some Websites to Inform What You’re Trying to Create
One of the first things you can do is head to Google with the goal of finding some websites to inspire what you create. You are not going to COPY these websites but rather use some examples to help clarify what you’re looking to create.
To find example websites.
- Visit the website of industry leaders you look up to.
- Find a website for a similar service in a different industry. For example, if you are a concierge OT, you might visit the website of a concierge physician.
- Type the service that you offer into Google and visit the top results
- Think of a website your ideal client might visit and enjoy.
To make this step as productive as possible, make sure you get clear on your goals and set a time limit.
Here are some questions to ask yourself while going through example websites.
- What do I like about how the ideas are organized?
- What don’t I like about this website?
- What do I like about the style of writing or a website?
- What does my ideal client get from this website that I need to include or leave out of my own version?
- What does my version of this website look like?
- How to the graphics or flow of this page or website help communicate the offer or ideas?
Nothing is worse than visiting a website and not being able to find it later. For this reason, I recommend starting a Google doc where you keep links to inspo websites as well as some brief notes about each one.
Pick a Platform for your Website
Fortunately for business owners, it’s easier than ever to build a website yourself with many website builders available to create your website.
Here’s where you’ve to think about your needs and skills as a business owner in order to make the best possible decision.
- How comfortable are you will learning tech and design?
- How much of a pull will you need to create through Google searches to your website?
- Are you looking to get something up quickly now versus what is your long-term website strategy?
The Pros and the Cons of Different Website Platforms
I’ll get you started with some of my observations about the different platforms.
This is considered the premium website builder as it offers the most options. For this reason, many large companies and bloggers choose WordPress. HOWEVER, it’s also the least user-friendly for a novice website builder who doesn’t know how to code.
Most therapy practice owners don’t need all the functions of a WordPress website and will struggle to figure out how to use it.
You may want to consider WordPress if you’re looking to monetize a blog, needs a robust online presence, you’re tech-savvy, or you’re looking to outsource your website development and maintenance.
There is a lot you can do with Squarespace as your website platform. The builder uses a lot of drag-and-drop elements which make it easy to design without extensive coding. Plus, you don’t need to start with a blank canvas as Squarespace offers many templates that feel modern.
This platform plays well with Google and the SEO settings are easy to use once you figure out where they are.
Squarespace is my favorite option for therapy business owners. There is a learning curve to the platform but it’s manageable. The price tag is an investment but it’s worth it for a website that looks good and is easy to manage.
This is another drag-and-drop website builder that many occupational therapists have successfully built websites on. It’s fairly intuitive and includes most of the features required to maximize SEO so the website gets found in Google.
Many therapists pick this platform because it’s easy to use and offers many SEO and design features. One drawback is that the design templates aren’t quite as modern as Squarespace but it still does the job for most small online practices and businesses.
WEEBLY & GOOGLE SITES
Weebly and Google sites are pretty similar in that you’ll find an easy-to-use website builder that is cost-effective.
A big drawback to both Weebly and Google Sites is that some essential SEO features are missing. This makes it much harder to create a website that will show up in Google.
I don’t recommend these website builders because of the limited SEO options. Plus, both offer limited options as far as modern design.
Map Out What You Want to Say Where
It’s a mistake to just open your website platform and start writing. Instead, take a moment to think of your user and what they need to experience when they visit your website.
The last thing you want to create is a disorganized website that confuses or overwhelms your guest.
This means your website needs some structure and content strategy. Let’s explore some basics of these.
Two Main Website Structures
This is a website where all the content is on one page that the user can scroll through. This might appeal to you if you have one audience and one audience and want to get up some basic information. The longer length of the page makes it possible to grab one or two main keywords.
The main downside to this structure is that it is hard to add additional services or ideas as you grow because everything is on one page. It can also make it harder to target additional SEO keywords.
Separate Pages Website
This is a more traditional website design where different topics can land on different pages. This website can be as big or small as you need with a variety of ways to organize your information on different pages.
The key for this type of website is to make navigation and content structure clear and cohesive between pages. It’s also important to make sure you don’t end up with pages without much content on them.
TYPICAL WEBSITE CONTENT
Home page – Welcome your visitor and make it clear they are in the right spot. Should briefly explain who you help and what you offer in a way that gets them to dig further into your website.
About Page – This page is where you build know, like, and trust. Consider sharing your mission and values. It’s also the place for the story of your business and introductions to you and your team.
Service Page(s) – Paint a picture of the services you offer and how they work. A robust website will have a separate page for each service like OT, PT, and speech. Or you might want specialty services like groups or feeding therapy to each to have their own page.
Contact page – In this section, you include ways to get in contact with you. This might include a contact form, phone number, address and location map, or even your social media.
Most of all, you want your website to feel welcoming to your visitor by covering important processes and the authentic feel of working with your company.
Get more details on how to do this in my other resource: 3 Easy Tips for Creating a Welcoming Website.
MORE WEBSITE OPTIONS AND TERMINOLOGY
FAQ Page – Users love visiting these pages. This can be a great place to cover logistical details people are asking you all the time or to address common objections.
Blog – Adding a blog to your website is a great way to share free resources and improve your SEO. Great blog topics cover common diagnoses and problems or are related to local topics that impact your practice.
Call to Action (CTA) – This is super important! Your website needs one clear call to action. This is the next step you want your visitor to do. This could be to call your clinic, fill out an intake form, or book a free clarity call. Whatever it is, make this action clear and repeat it several times on every page of your website.
Email Opt-in – Not every website visitor is going to be ready to take action with your business right away. That’s why it’s valuable to capture who is visiting your website so you can build an email list for ongoing contact.
To do this you’d need to set up an email platform and create something to give visitors in exchange for their email. Admittedly, this is some extra work so don’t want to do this to create and launch your website.
SEO Basics of an Occupational Therapy Website
As you’re creating your website, you’ll want to keep some SEO basics in mind.
First, you need to understand what SEO is.
SEO stands for search engine optimization. This is how Google reads and shows websites to people using the search bar. The goal is for your website to pop up right away in the list of search results for terms your ideal client is looking for.
There are a lot of factors that go into a website that does well in Google searches so I’m going to simply give you the Cliff notes version of getting started.
- Every page of your website needs a title at the top that is a Heading 1. Then create subheadings using Heading 2. Visit my resource on how to do this.
- Use keywords like your service and your locations in headings and subheadings.
- Write pages that have more than 500 words.
- Make sure you fill out the page description in the SEO settings of your platform.
Again, this is a short list of SEO options. Visit my other resources or do your own research on SEO.
Even better, hire me for a website review and I’ll give you advice specific to your situation.
Launching Your Website and Beyond
Once you’ve put all the work into writing the words and designing your website, it’s time to hit publish!
My advice here is to publish your website sooner than you feel really ready. It can feel scary to put something out there. Especially when you’re sharing something that feels new and incomplete.
Remember, every website is a work in progress and can always be changed and improved as you go.
As you launch your website keep in mind:
- Set up Google Analytics to track how many people visit your website
- Sign up for Google My Business which is another way to show up in Google results
- Ask friends and family to visit your new website to get some traffic flowing.
- Be brave and ask for feedback or website elements that don’t work.
- It can take several months for your website to show up in Google searches so keep monitoring how it’s doing.
And most of all, take time to celebrate everything that went into creating your occupational therapy website!
After seeing everything that goes into a website, I never stop recognizing this milestone as a true accomplishment.
And, I’m here to help you with your website as an OT who loves all things web copy.
I’m willing to do the heavy lifting of strategy, writing, and SEO by writing your copy or offering fresh feedback during a website review.
Learn more about my website services.